More Ridiculous Things I Have Told My Toddler

Photo by Viktor Hanacek. From www.picjumbo.com

Every day it seems I find myself saying something crazy to my kid. Most of the time I forget to write it down, but occasionally I remember. Enjoy!

1. You’d better watch out, you just about poked yourself in the eye with your toe.

2. Your chicken is not a phone. Eat it.

3. Your turtle doesn’t swim in milk.

4. Don’t rub ketchup in your armpits.

5. Quit licking your toe and go pee.

6. No, I won’t show you my boobs in the middle of Walmart.

7. Crayons do not work better if they are put up your nose.

8. You can’t look through my belly button to see the baby.

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It’s a… Whole New World

Photo by Aditya Romansa. From http://www.unsplash.com

At my 19 week prenatal appointment my OB/GYN ordered a sonogram.  I was very excited to finally get our first look at our new little one.  Later that week we went to the radiology department of the hospital.  The technologist asked if we wanted to find out the baby’s sex, which we did.  

It’s a boy!

Boy, was I not ready for that surprise.  No pun intended.

I always thought I would have another girl.  I never considered the fact that it could be a boy.  I mean, I knew it was technically possible, of course.  I just never thought it would happen to me.  

When I was a kid and played house I never pretended to have a boy baby.  I grew up with just a little sister and thought that boys were weird and gross; they talked about poop and farts and boogers and liked to burp, kick each other in the crotch, and to scare girls.  I never even considered what it would be like to have a boy until my amazing nephew came along nine years ago.  He made me think thay maybe a boy wouldn’t be so bad.

I had just naively assumed this baby would be a girl too.  I thought I was ahead of the game and so prepared because I wouldn’t have to buy any clothes.  I would have everything I needed for the baby.  I would have two girls that could play together like my sister and I did.

I am not trying to be silly or dramatic, but it took about a week for me to process and for reality to set in.  I’m having a boy.  Abby will have a little brother.  

I am totally not prepared for a boy!  I don’t have any boy clothes.  I don’t know how to take care of a little boy.  All I know about is being a girl.  Boys are so much different than girls!  Over Memorial Day weekend we took Abby to the zoo.  When we were looking at the giant tortoise exhibit a little boy yelled, “Did you see his butt hole?  Did you see it?  COULD YOU SEE IT, MOMMY?”  Oh Lord, am I ready for this? 

It’s a whole new world.   Ready or not, here it comes!

Five Reasons Why I Love Being a Mom

  1. There is a little person who loves me just as I am, fiercely,fully, and without reservation.
  2.  People always say, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  I look at raising a child as my chance to change the world, my chance to make it better by raising a good, kind, caring, conscientious human being.
  3. I get to watch her learn and grow and discover the world.  It is incredible to see.
  4.  She can always make me smile, no matter how sick or tired or sad I am.  
  5.  She makes me want to be a better person and strive to be better than I am.

Mom’s Marvelous Carrot Cake 

I love my mom’s carrot cake.  It literally is the best carrot cake I have ever tasted.

I am very picky when it comes to carrot cake.  I remember the first time I ever tried carrot cake: I was probably six or seven and my aunt brought out a cake after supper.  I was so excited that we were going to eat cake- then I took a bite and was immediately disappointed.  It was dry and had stringy carrots and my mom made me be polite and eat it all anyway.  I tried carrot cake other times as I got older, but never liked any until finally, Mom convinced me to try hers.  I still haven’t found one that compares.

I made sure to copy my mom’s recipe so I could share it with you.

Ingredients 

Cake:

  • 2 c flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c oil
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp.baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c grated carrots (I prefer finely chopped in the food processor, rather than grated)
  • 1 c or 1 medium can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 c golden raisins
  • Optional: 1/2 c finely chopped walnuts 

Icing:

  • 1/2 c softened butter
  • 2 8 oz blocks of softened cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp cream
  • 3 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 c walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix the sugar, eggs, and oil.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients into the large bowl containing the wet ingredients. Mix well.
  • Add the carrots, pineapple, and raisins. Mix well.
  • Divide the batter into the pans.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center of each pan comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool and gently remove them from the pans. Cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
  • With a mixer mix together all the ingredients except the cream and powdered sugar.
  • Slowly add the powdered sugar (This is where I usually make a huge mess)
  • Add the cream, a little at a time until the icing is as soft or firm as you prefer.
  • Place the first cake on a cake plate or in a cake keeper.
  • Frost the cake on all sides and place the other cake on top, then frost it. 
  • Gently press the walnut pieces into the sides of the iced cake.

Store in the refrigerator.  The cake is even better the next day.


The first slice of cake with a side of ice cream. Yum!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

An Early Birthday Dinner: Swiss Steak

Photo: Annie Spray/Unsplash

I don’t know if I have ever mentioned it before, but I have the best parents ever. They always do so much for me and I appreciate them very much. 
Saturday we drove almost an hour to my parents’ house to celebrate my birthday a few days early.   

My photographer husband helped my dad photograph items belonging to my grandparents’ estate in order to begin to sell some of it.  They were busy most of the day.

My mom and I played with Abby and cooked while the men were occupied.

My mom made a special birthday supper of swiss steak with mashed potatoes and cream cheese corn.  I requested this, as this meal has long been a favorite of mine; my grandmother used to make it often when we would come over for a Sunday lunch.  I have many wonderful memories of eating swiss steak off of her octagon shaped pewter plates with my family gathered around the table.  My mom’s swiss steak was just as delicious as I remembered it to be.  In fact, it almost made my father cry because it tasted so much like his mother’s.

For dessert, my mom made her incredible carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  I was very full from supper, but somehow managed to stuff myself further with cake.  

Abby excitedly helped me unwrap my birthday gifts.  I received some wonderfully soft pajama sets and a pretty kitchen utensil cannister designed by Pioneer Woman.

My mother made me take home the leftover cake, so I will be enjoying it for days to come.  I will post my mom’s cake recipe and photos of the cake tomorrow. 

I apologize that I didn’t get any photos of the Swiss steak before it was devoured,  but I thought I would include the recipe for you.  My grandmother would always serve this dish with mashed potatoes and corn.

Grandma Julia’s Swiss Steak

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs round steak or minute steaks 
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 2 cups celery, chopped 
  • 2 cups catsup
  • 1 can Campbell’s tomato soup
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Flour steaks and fry brown on both sides.
  • Put steak into a sauce pan or deep pan that has a lid. Place vegetables on top of steak.
  • Add catsup, soup, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Put in oven and simmer for about 2 hours.
  • Optional: instead of cooking in the oven you can cook using a slow cooker. If cooking on low setting let simmer for 6 hours. If cooking on high setting let simmer for 4 hours.
  • Enjoy!

Jealous of Dad

Photo: Louis Blythe/Unsplash

When I became pregnant I began to prepare for the possibility that my firstborn would become jealous of the new baby.  It’s only natural, it happens.
I remember being jealous of my little sister when she came home from the hospital.  I was so excited to have a sister to play with, but I soon realized that she was too small to play, she cried a lot, and everyone paid a lot of attention to her and I felt left out.  I cut all the hair off of my Fraggle doll, Wembley.

I have had conversations with her about how when Mommy and Daddy bring the baby home the baby will require lots of our attention, but we will still love Abby just the same, always have time for her, and will still give her all the attention she needs.  I don’t think she really understands yet, but that’s OK.  

What I didn’t prepare for was the possibility that Abby would become jealous of my husband.  

In the past couple weeks she has gotten upset when Mommy and Daddy hug or kiss.  If we hold hands in front of her she will try to pull them apart.  When we sit next to each other or try to snuggle together on the couch she will act angry and try to hit my husband or push him away.

We have both tried to explain to Abby that hugging, kissing, and holding hands is how Mommy and Daddy show our love and affection for each other, just as we hug, kiss, and hold her.  I’m not sure how to get through to her that Mommy isn’t just hers.  Nothing we say seems to make a difference. 

I know and try to reassure my husband that this is just a phase she is going through and that will not last too long, but it is frustrating, especially for my husband. 

Has this ever happened to you?  How did you handle the situation?

A Page Out of the Toddler Rule Book

Photo: Samantha Sophia/Unsplash

The older my daughter gets, the more obvious it seems that toddlers operate by a different set of rules. 

I happened to find a page from the secret Toddler Rule Book and decided to share it with you.  Enjoy!

  1. No matter what delicious food you are given, always insist on eating what Mom and Dad are eating.
  2. Wherever Mom goes for alone time, find her and bug her until you have her full attention.
  3. Be incredibly quiet when being mischievous.
  4. Anytime adults are in a hurry or have a deadline, use this opportunity to move as slowly as possible and not acknowledge any instructions you are given.
  5. Even though you might be turning purple and shivering while sitting in cold bathwater, this is no excuse to get out of the bathtub.  Keep playing as long as possible!
  6. Even if every episode of Curious George has been watched 70 times, ask to watch it again.
  7. Even if you acted like a food was delicious yesterday, it is perfectly fair to act like it is the grossest thing on Earth today.
  8. Fake ouchies and boo-boos deserve as much sympathy and attention as real ones.  Band-aids are always necessary.
  9. Stickers must be placed on every available surface, from the kitchen table legs, to walls, or Mom’s butt when she isn’t looking.
  10. Stuff anything of an accommodating size into the toilet, clothes hamper, trash can, potato bin, and air vents.
  11. Shoes and socks must be removed during each car ride, no matter how short, especially when full of sand.
  12. Being naked at all times is better than wearing clothes. Always.
  13. It is lots of fun to walk around the house with Dad’s underwear around your neck on laundry day. No matter how many times Mom tries to take them off, find a way to put them back on.
  14. Cookies and marshmallows are acceptable for breakfast.
  15. Push any button that you see.  Remote controls, keyboards, and phones are particularly fun.
  16. Anytime Mom and dad are trying to have a conversation, immediately interrupt with, “Mom! Mom!” or “Dad! Dad!” and don’t stop until you have their full attention, even if you have nothing to say.

Working on my Patience 

Photo: Elizabeth Lies/ Unsplash

Forgive me for ranting a little.  The last couple weeks have been rough.  First trimester exhaustion has hit big time.  I am always either voraciously hungry or feel like I am going to throw up- isn’t “morning” sickness great?  I have been battling a head cold and although it has mostly resolved, I still have a bilateral ear infection.  I have begun to wean Abby from her nighttime nursing and she’s not happy about it, plus she’s still waking up multiple times a night (maybe it’s teething again?  I don’t know.) and only wanting to snuggle with Mom, not Dad.  Needless to say, no rest for the weary.
I have tried to stay upbeat and positive but Mommy’s patience is starting to wear a little thin.  

Each morning as I get ready for work I put Abby in the Pack and Play in my bedroom.  This is apparently now viewed by her as a new form form of torture, judging by the constant screaming, crying, and whining that begins the moment I put her in there until the moment I take her out.  Whereas she previously didn’t mind and used to play or look at books during that time, I think she doesn’t like being in there any longer because at daycare she is now one of the “big kids” and there is a new baby who uses the Pack and Play that she used to use.  I can’t tell you how it has grated on my nerves hearing non-stop screaming the whole time I brush my teeth, put in my contacts, and take a shower.

Multiple nights in the last week Abby has ended up sleeping in bed with us after about 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. It is something I swore would never happen before I had a kid and while I was pregnant, but after getting up seven or eight times a night I have given up and placed her in between us so I get a little more sleep.  It works great… until you get poked in the eye or kicked in the nose out of nowhere while sleeping.  

Her daily temper tantrums have continued.  This morning it happened three times: once because she knew it was time to get in the Pack and Play, the second time was because I put on brown boots, the third was because I wouldn’t let her eat a banana as we were getting in the car.  What was wrong with my brown boots?  I don’t know.  As soon as she saw them, Abby began trying to unzip them and pull them off and then cried when she couldn’t do it.  “Don’t you like my boots?” I asked her.  “Uh-uh, no-ey!”

Normally patience is not an issue for me, but when you don’t feel good it is so much harder to take things in stride.  I am trying hard to be more patient.  

As Time Goes By

Photo: Marjorie Bertrand/Unsplash

Yesterday my mom asked me to look to see if I had a group photograph of my grandmother and her seven daughters taken at my grandmother’s seventy-ninth birthday party several years ago.  My grandmother needed a photo for a craft project they would soon be doing in the nursing home and when my mother took the photo she had out of her picture frame the photo tore.  So after Abby went to bed I turned on my laptop to see if I could the photograph she requested.  I looked through several years of photos but was unable to find any from the party.  

I spent about an hour looking at numerous other photographs on my computer: pictures of my neices and nephews throughout the years, weddings, parties, road trips, concerts, holidays, and vacations gone by.  I spent the most time looking at photos and videos from Abby’s birth through when bought my new cell phone about four months ago.  

Where does the time go?  How do we not notice it passing until it is gone?  How does it seem to pass so quickly?

I can’t believe how little Abby used to be.  She has changed so much; gotten so big so quickly.  When she was born she was just a teeny-tiny adorable little thing with big black tufts of hair.  Now she is a wild, silly, funny little nymph who dances around the house and points out letters she knows on signs or on TV.  She amazes me each day with something new that she can do or say.

That video of her rocking back and forth on her hands and knees, that couldn’t have been that long ago.  Oh, look, her first steps!  Geez, was that really in June of last year.  Awww, her crazy dance to Katy Perry music- was that really over six months ago?  What?  

I can’t believe that my little girl won’t be a little girl for too much longer.   I realized that I need to take more videos and more photos, but I also need to take more time to get down and play, snuggle, and just be present with her.  Soon it won’t be just her anymore, there will be another little one in our family.  I want to enjoy every moment because in the blink of an eye she will be big.